Religion News in Brief


Sunday, Nov. 17

Worship in North Bennington

NORTH BENNINGTON -- The North Bennington Congregational Church welcomes all to its 11 a.m. worship service led by the Rev. Penny Rich Smith. The sermon, "Soul Work," will be based on Isaiah 65:17-25 and Luke 21:5-19. There will be a children's time, after which Sunday School classes will meet for pre-school through grade 8.

Following the service, everyone is invited to stay for coffee hour and a time of fellowship. The church is located at 8 Bank St. and is wheelchair accessible from the back door at the parsonage driveway. For more information, call the church office at 442-5161.

Worship at

Second Congregational Church

BENNINGTON -- Come one, come all to worship at Second Congregational Church, UCC, this Sunday morning at 10 a.m. The church welcomes all people of faith or in search of faith, without regard to age, race, sex, economic condition, disability, or sexual orientation. Following a Time for the Children in All of Us, children up through grade five are dismissed for Godly Play and the middle- and high-school class meets. Nursery care is provided throughout worship. The Rev. Mary Lee-Clark's sermon, based on the readings from Isaiah and Luke, is titled, "Good News! Bad News!"

A time of fellowship and refreshment for the whole church family follows in Webster Hall, where the Pre-Advent Book Sale is also taking place. A service of healing prayer and laying on of hands takes place in the sanctuary at 11:30 a.m.

The church facility is wheelchair-accessible, and hearing-assistance devices are available. For more information, call the church office at 442-2559 or visit our website at

'Strength in What Remains' at the Federated Church

EAST ARLINGTON -- You are welcome to come to come as you are, wherever you are on your faith journey, to the Sunday service of worship at the Federated Church of East Arlington on Ice Pond Road at 10 a.m. The world today has its share of troubles but this is nothing new.

The message this Sunday comes from the difficult text of Luke 21:5-19. The Rev. Kathy Clark's sermon is titled "Strength in What Remains." Additional lessons come from Isaiah 65:17-25 and Psalm 98. The choir will be led and accomapnied by Mary Edwards, music director. All children 3 to 10 will begin their day in the service of worship and then move into church school where the lessons will be focused on the story of Jonah and the whale. Immediately after the service all are invited to join for a time of fellowship and refreshment in Bailey Hall, when there will be the opportunity to donate to Holy Joe's Cafe, which provides coffee support for the ministry of presence of U.S. military chaplains around the world.

The Men's Fellowship will gather for its monthly breakfast meeting at 8 a.m. in Bailey Hall.

The community is invited to the Interfaith Council of the Northshire Potluck Dinner and Auction of amazing gifts and services to benefit the Emergency Needs Fund which provides assistance to friends and neighbors around the Northshire. Plan to join in the fun at Israel Congregation on Route 7A in Manchester beginning at 5:30 p.m. Please bring any dish to share except for meat or shellfish.

There will also be a Flu Shot Clinic conducted by Manchester Health Services on Tuesday, Nov. 19, from 1 to 3 p.m. in Bailey Hall at the Federated Church, 79 Ice Pond Road.

Senior Meals are served on Tuesday and Thursdays at noon in Bailey Hall. The Federated Church is a local church in covenant and connection with the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church. Its mission is "To welcome all, follow Jesus Christ together, and live God's Word with compassionate service." For additional information, visit or like the church on Facebook.

Worship and events at St. Peter's

BENNINGTON -- The Rev. Justin Lanier will preside at St. Peter's Episcopal Church as it celebrates the Holy Eucharist using the Book of Common Prayer on this the twenty-sixth Sunday after Pentecost.

The 8 a..m. Holy Eucharist is celebrated at the high altar without music in the traditional language of Rite I. At 10 a.m. the Holy Eucharist will be celebrated with singing and music at the free-standing altar using Rite II, the contemporary language service. The Gospel for this day is Luke 21:5-19. The laying on of hands for healing follows the service.

Regularly scheduled events: There will be contemplative prayer on Wednesday, Nov. 20, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. On Thursday, Nov. 21, Lanier will celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 10 a.m. All are welcome.

Christian Education is scheduled for Saturday, November 16, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Lunch will be served.

The Vestry will meet on Sunday following the 10 a.m. service.

Lanier will be away Nov. 27 to 29 for Thanksgiving. His cell phone number is 302-858-8832.

Dec. 1 is the first Sunday of Advent. Don't forget to sign up for a lovely Christmas wreath to be picked up after the Christmas Tea.

The St. Nicholas Supper will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12, at which time trees will be set up in preparation of the Christmas Tea. Bring your wrapped gifts for the Angel Tree to the Supper also. Donations for the Dove Project are also welcome.

The Christmas Tea will be Dec. 14. Note that silver or crystal serving trays are needed for the Christmas Tea and may be dropped off at the church during regular business hours or call Donna Maroney at 442-9147 if you have questions. Volunteers will be calling sandwich and cookie makers for the event soon.

St. Peter's invites people of all faiths or those in search of faith to join them in their service of Christ and of each other. The facility is wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit or call 802-442-2911.


Hanukkah Celebration and Gift Boutique

BENNINGTON -- Congregation Beth El, at 107 Adams St., will hold a Hanukkah Celebration and Gift Boutique on Saturday, Nov. 23, from 4 to 8 p.m.

The schedule:

* 4 p.m. - Hanukkah Games and Latke Contest

Enter your best latke recipe, taste others and vote for the best latke. Pick out Hanukkah presents at the Hanukkah Gift Boutique Preview. (Make purchases after sundown.) Games, crafts, prizes and a story circle for families with young children.

* 5 p.m. - Wholesale Klezmer Band presents: How to Dance at a Jewish Wedding

Enjoy live Klezmer music and an interactive dance workshop led by members of The Wholesale Klezmer Band.

* 6:30 p.m. - Havdalah & Hanukkah "How-To"

Bring Shabbat to a close as the sun sets with the Havdalah ceremony. Then learn traditional and contemporary rituals to enhance your Hanukkah at home.

* 6:45 p.m. - Community Potluck Dinner and Hanukkah Gift Boutique

Bring a vegetarian or dairy dish to share for dinner. Purchase all your gifts at the Hanukkah Gift Boutique - original pottery, pressed flower art, calligraphy, Beth El cookbooks and gifts from Lenox Judaica.

Operation: Christmas Child Shoebox collections

BENNINGTON -- Operation: Christmas Child Shoebox Relay Center 2013 Collection Week will be Monday, Nov. 18, through Monday, Nov. 25, at the Missionary Alliance Church, 198 Crescent Blvd..

Operation: Christmas Child is a worldwide ministry to children and is a project of the relief organization Samaritan's Purse.

Local collection hours are:

Monday, Nov. 18, 10 to 11 a.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 19, 10 to 11 a.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 6 to 7 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 21, 7 to 8 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 22, 10 to 11 a.m.

Saturday, Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to noon

Sunday, Nov. 24, noon to 2 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 25, 9 to 10 a.m.

A standard-size shoebox is all you need to get started. Fill it with toys, school supplies and hygiene items (more suggestions listed in a brochure available at the church), complete with labels, and a $7 shipping and handling fee per box.

When dropping off completed shoeboxes, enter through the church's double doors just beyond the playground at the lower level. Shoebox brochures may be picked up a the church from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Thursday, or by calling 802-442-6840 or visiting

Christmas Bazaar in Readsboro

READSBORO -- The 48th annual Christmas Bazaar will be held Saturday, Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Joachim Parish Hall, on Tunnel Street. There will be many Chinese auction items as well as "Silent Bid" Auctions of dinners and overnight stays in area fine restaurants, inns and resorts.

Chances will be sold on a Holiday Dinner Basket which includes a turkey, bottle of wine and all the other food for your meal.

The Tag Sale has wide assortment of bargains as well as dolls for the collector -- Barbies, Beanie Babies and Cabbage Patch. Home baked breads, cookies, pies, jellies, gifts, wreaths and decorations will be on sale. The Ladies of St. Anne Society will be serving a lunch of soups, sandwiches, grinders and desserts beginning at 11 a.m.

Free organ concert

BENNINGTON -- At 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24, Donald McMahon will perform a recital at the Estey-Resig organ of 1,438 pipes in Sacred Heart Saint Francis de Sales Church, 238 W. Main St. The program will demonstrate the many bright, rich and warm tones of the organ with performances of works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Jean Langlais, Eugene Gigout, Olivier Messiaen and others. The recital is free and open to the public. All facilities are accessible to those with disabilities. Convenient parking is available.

Christmas Bazaar, Flea and Craft Market

BENNINGTON -- The annual Christmas Bazaar, Flea and Craft Market will be held on Saturday Nov. 30, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 601 Main St. There will be 20-plus tables, a silent auction, kid's craft-room available for making handmade Christmas presents all just in time for the holidays. Homemade lunch, brunch, and snack items provided by and sold by the First Baptist Church. For more information, contact the church office at 802/442-2105 or e-mail

Introduction to Judaism class

BENNINGTON -- Introduction to Judaism, a 10-week class taught by Rabbi Jarah Greenfield, will expose participants to the breadth and depth of Judaism and engage with core ideas, debates and concerns of the Jewish people. Participants will gain knowledge and skills that will help them participate in Jewish life and build a personal Jewish practice if they choose. The class, which runs Tuesdays from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. from Dec. 10 to Feb. 25 is geared toward those without prior Jewish learning, whether Jewish, non-Jewish, or considering conversion to Judaism. There is no fee for the course but book purchase is required. To sign up, call 802-442-9645. Located at Congregation Beth El, 107 Adams St., Bennington.

Course dates and schedule: Tuesdays, 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Meeting dates: Dec. 10, Dec. 17, Jan. 7, Jan. 14, Jan. 21, Jan. 28, Feb. 4, Feb. 11, Feb. 18, Feb. 25

HACA Food Pantry participates in National Hunger Awareness Week

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- In the spirit of thankfulness and giving, each year the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign against Hunger and Homelessness set aside the week prior to Thanksgiving to sponsor the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

In Hoosick Falls, the HACA Food Pantry steps up to meet the needs with additional food distributions through the Thanksgiving and Christmas food boxes. The reduction in Food Stamps (SNAP) on Nov. 1 has brought on a surge of requests for Thanksgiving food boxes. It is expected that the final count will far exceed the 152 given out in 2012. Still needed are 100 pies as well as 150 packages of muffin or sweet bread mixes. Other items running low at the Pantry are spaghetti sauce, canned fruit, Jell-O, juice, and canned vegetables, as well as personal care items such as bar soap, shampoo and tooth paste.

Food donations can be dropped off at the Pantry, 26 John St., Hoosick Falls, Monday and Friday between 10 a.m. and noon, or Wednesday evening between 6:30 and 8 p.m., or at the Hoosick Falls Federal Credit Union. Cash donations may be mailed to HACA, P.O. Box 1, Hoosick Falls, NY 12090. For every 1$ collected, HACA can purchase $6 worth of food from the Regional Food Bank. To learn more, call 518-366-6167

Opportunity for choral singers at Old First

OLD BENNINGTON -- Choral singers with an affinity toward classical church music in a more traditional setting, who might be available for a regular Sunday morning commitment, are being encouraged by Old First Congregational Church of Bennington to consider an opportunity provided by its choir program.

Under the direction of Charles Olegar, the church's organist and choir director since this past December, Old First Church's choir has been working to develop as a skilled ensemble, bringing to worship distinguished music covering several centuries of the art, including more recent classically-rooted compositions. "Each Sunday's music is selected and prepared with the aim of bringing to our services the spiritual invigoration and nourishment that can be a special province of fine sacred music," states Olegar, whose career spans over four decades as a professional church musician.

Along with its September-through-June schedule of weekly 11 a.m. Sunday morning services, the choir also appears regularly on Old First's community musicale series, which was inaugurated last March with a program of Bach cantatas, often performed with instruments, which are likewise engaged for special music on Christmas Eve and Easter.

In opening choir membership to the community, Old First Church is reflecting its historic role in Bennington, where it long served as the town's Meeting House, Thus, participation does not carry with it the prerequisite or expectation of church membership. With the congregation's commitment to offering an inclusive, warmly-supportive community that welcomes and celebrates diversity, choir members often choose to become more extensively involved in church life. "We are about the spiritual power of great music offered as worship," Olegar says; "A concert venue might provide some of that, but in the context of worship an already superb piece of music can take on even greater dimensions and meaning. That's our role at Old First."

Old First's choir rehearses weekly on Wednesdays, from 7 to 8:30 in The Barn, on Monument Circle, with Sunday morning warm-up at 10:30 a.m., for an 11 a.m. service. Prospective singers may contact Olegar, either personally after a service or at or 802-447-1223.

Christmas Basket Program Hoosick Falls

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- The Hoosick Area Church Association is now preparing for its annual Christmas Basket Program. The Christmas Basket Program provides participating families from the greater Hoosick area with the fixings for a Christmas dinner, a gift for each child in the household and additional food as available. This year we expect to serve a record number of families in our community. This program fills a need not provided by other agencies or organizations, and exemplifies the concept of individuals helping individuals within our community, providing a powerful Christmas message of caring and goodwill to others.

The Christmas Basket Program is made possible by of the generous support of our community members. We are asking individuals and organizations consider contributing to this special program. We welcome all levels of support; your donations of time, money, food, especially canned goods or a ham or turkey.

Gifts are appreciated as well, any type of toy for boy or girl, the ages will range from newborn to 17 years old. All toys or gifts must be dropped off at Immaculate Conception Church by Thursday December 13th.

Monetary donations are being accepted now through December 5th at the Immaculate Conception Parish Office at 67 Main Street in Hoosick Falls.

Checks may be made out to Immaculate Conception. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer to assist in other ways, please contact Joyce Lukas at or 518-686-5064 or email Patricia Hayes at

Together we will spread the joy of Christmas throughout the community and beyond.


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